Visitors to Florence will no doubt walk along and cross over the river that runs through the city center; and while it’s possible to see the city these days without paying much attention to the river, that wasn’t always the case. The Arno River was once an incredibly important river to central Italy, serving as a “highway” that brought shipments from the sea and brought warring soldiers from neighboring cities. Today, the River Arno may not be as critical an avenue for shipping or armies, but it’s no less important to the identity of Tuscany.

The Arno River runs through Florence, as well as the cities of Pisa, Empoli, and Arezzo. Florence’s famous Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”) spans the Arno, and hotel rooms with a river view usually command high prices. Also note that the part of central Florence located on the opposite side of the river from the Duomo and train station is known as the “Oltrarno,” or “other Arno,” meaning the other side of the Arno River.

The Arno isn’t always peaceful and romantic, however, as the river has flooded on several occasions, most notably in 1966 when 40 people died and many of Florence’s priceless art was damaged or destroyed. Today, you can still see flood markers on many buildings - but you’ll need to look up, as the water reached roughly 22 feet (6.7 meters) in the city center.

Tours & Tickets

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Florence Super Saver: City Bike Tour plus Skip-the-Line Accademia Gallery Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 35 Reviews

Explore Florence by bike and see Michelangelo’s sculpture of 'David' on an exciting Super Saver that combines two top-selling Florence tours at a discounted ...  Read more

Location: Florence, Italy
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $69.00

Medieval Florence Evening Walking Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 71 Reviews

Discover the sights and stories of medieval Florence – a time of scandal and intrigue – and see the city’s showstopping attractions alongside lesser-known ...  Read more

Location: Florence, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $30.77
$38.46 Save $7.69

Florence River Cruise on a Traditional Barchetto

4.5 star rating: Recommended 97 Reviews

Cruise along the Arno River and under the incredible Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s famous bridge, on a barchetto, a small traditional boat! Florence’s answer to ...  Read more

Location: Florence, Italy
Duration: 75 minutes (approx.)

From USD $44.11

Florence Water Bike Tour

Explore Florence from a different perspective on board of a water bike! Cycle along the Arno river and enjoy a new way to move around the city avoiding ...  Read more

Location: Florence, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $67.87

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